Contemporary-Style Home Ideas

Featuring simple forms and geometric lines, contemporary homes are designed to fit today's lifestyles. See a variety of distinctive homes and gain ideas here.

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    • Naturally Contemporary

      Drama on the flat-face exteriors of contemporary-style homes comes from a dynamic mix of contrasting materials and textures, exposed roof beams, and flat or low-pitched roofs.

      Here, a strong connection to nature and the surrounding landscape is established through large expanses of windows and the use of natural materials and colors. Front and back courtyards help blend indoors and out, and almost every interior room opens to the outside. Steel and concrete accents add an industrial feel, while vertical panels of board-and-batten siding create a sleek, modern exterior.

    • Modern Window Walls

      A contemporary version of classic post-and-beam design takes shape in this vacation home built of glass, steel, and stucco. What walls exist in the design become backdrops for art; otherwise the plan is composed of dramatic window walls and breezy passages.

    • Contemporary Flexibility

      This home's horizontal design makes it appear large from the curb. The contemporary American vernacular architecture has familiar feel and works well in almost any neighborhood, yet appears distinctive. The exterior is clad in fiber-cement siding, which is less expensive than wood siding, far more durable, and easier to maintain. It's painted a greenish taupe that harmonizes with the foliage.

    • Outdoor-to-Indoor Design

      Contemporary features of this home include a Bermuda-style roof, a floating deck, broad eaves, and walls of glass. The main entry boasts stacked limestone, cedar, and metal accents that flow through interior spaces to create continuity. Stairs wind up through the front yard of no-mow grass to the front door.

    • Modern Addition

      This home, which began as a contemporary ranch, received an upgrade through a prominent upper-level addition. To keep the addition from feeling like a boxy monolith, the upper level features a dramatic bump-out, which is sheathed in redwood planks laid horizontally. The wood siding gives the home a sense of rhythm and visually connects to a new arbor and to plank siding on the left side of the house. Double-hung windows repeat the clerestory theme of the home's original windows--letting in lots of sunlight and views from their high vantage point.

    • Laundromat Turned Modern Home

      The boxy lines of an abandoned downtown laundromat offered the perfect starting point for this two-story contemporary home. The old parking lot in front blossomed into a private courtyard. Large windows and glass doors blur the line between indoors and out, promoting a calm tenor throughout the home. A new upper-level deck commands a view of the plantings below.

    • Coastal Contemporary

      Coastal contemporary style combines the ease of a seaside cottage with the impressive lines of a contemporary home. The low metal roof of these homes often tops expansive porches and windows that take full advantage of cooling ocean breezes. This home boasts a modern take on the wraparound porch, with an upper-level open-air living space that runs along two sides of the house. It takes its color cues--cream, deep green, gold, and natural wood tones--from the nearby beach setting.

    • International-Style Architecture

      The exterior of this contemporary trilevel home is clad in Trespa Meteon, a distinctive waterproof siding made in Germany. Arriscraft, a composite stone, frames the red cedar garage door that integrates with the entryway.

      Several features tie the home to International-style architecture of the 1930s: unadorned, stark white surfaces, a facade that expresses the strength of its steel core, and a rectilinear design with a nonstructural skin of innovative insulation and glass corners.

    • Contemporary Outdoor Dining

      Built on a hillside, this contemporary home features a tuck-under garage and a one-story climb to the front door. The front stairs lead past a tiered, modern spillway to a slate-tile entry court. A few strides away, a gravel terrace with a dining area offers views of the landscape.

      To play off the home's contemporary architecture, a collection of raised planters and retaining walls was built from cement block and painted white. The smooth blocks match the materials from the house itself, carrying its style into the landscape. Each wall contributes straight lines, rectangles, and squares that underscore the home's modern geometry.

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      Slim and Modern Two-Story

      This crisply styled, contemporary two-story blends comfortably with its more traditional neighbors while providing architectural variety usually seen only in long-established areas.

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      Contemporary Home with Ocean Views

      A modest-size plot of land plays host to this soaring, three-story contemporary home with a tight, rectangular footprint. The street-facing facade seen here features windows, stone, and stucco in a pattern that recalls a Piet Mondrian painting. Panoramic ocean vistas guided the project, including the orientation of most of the windows and a restrained used of interior walls.

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      Modern Materials

      A desire for high-quality materials and a strong indoor-outdoor connection influenced the design of this contemporary-style home. Laminated fir ceiling beams extend outside, supporting eaves edged in zinc. Walls of glass alternate with rough-sawn cedar siding and taupe-color stucco. The sheltered patio extends the lower level of the house. Between the seating area and the house is a reflecting pool fed by a scupper that extends from above a window.

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      Contemporary Home and Landscape

      This multilevel home--made primarily of concrete, steel framing, wood, and glass--makes the most of a sloping lot that developers had deemed "unbuildable." Outdoor rooms were created at the same time as the house. For these rooms, the homeowners chose materials--such as wood and stone--to complement their architecturally modern home while wedding the outdoor spaces to the surrounding natural environment.

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      Midcentury Modern Design

      This home, built in 1955, had gone through remodels that covered up its original midcentury minimalist architecture. The latest remodel brought the house back to its roots. The design features strong horizontal lines in the spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright and earthy materials such as brick, stone, and glass, which meld inside with outside. A red "eyebrow" above the front door adds a final modern touch.

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      From Factory to Contemporary

      Two brick walls of an abandoned T-shirt factory were transformed into this contemporary-style home. Between the walls, a network of steel sections supports floor-to-ceiling glass panels that look out to courtyards on either side. The courtyard seen here occupies an area that was once the factory's front office space.

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      Contemporary Connection to Nature

      This modern home is knitted to its site--not perched atop it--with natural materials and strong horizontal lines keeping it grounded. Glass doors and numerous windows, as well as terraces and balconies, foster a visual and functional connection to the outdoors.

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      Modern Geometry

      Geometry, hard surfaces, and a slick attitude at the front door announce that this is a home with contemporary style. Guests descend concrete stairs to reach the main entry of the multilevel home, which was built on a sloping lot.

    • Next Slideshow Before and After: Home Exteriors

      Before and After: Home Exteriors

      Maximize curb appeal with an exterior makeover. See how these 24 facades went from ordinary to unforgettable.
      Begin Slideshow »
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